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Bill Samuels Opens Up About Possible Run for Lieutenant Governor

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Bill Samuels Opens Up About Possible Run for Lieutenant Governor
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Video: Watch Samuels' complete interview with Liz Benjamin of Capital Tonight.

NEW YORK STATE — Governor Andrew Cuomo's running mate, former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, may face a primary challenge in the race for lieutenant governor.

The challenge comes from wealthy New York City businessman and political activist Bill Samuels. The Democratic donor has been critical of Cuomo for his failure to deliver on progressive policy promises.

According to Samuels, this has nothing to do with Hochul, who at one time represented Western New York in Congress, and everything to do with Cuomo.

"There are certain policies, and clearly his working with Skelos and the Republicans and not showing the correct enthusiasm for other Democrats, including Schneiderman and DiNapoli, upsets us," Samuels said.

Cuomo announced the selection of Hochul last week at the Democratic State Convention. Her outspoken views on immigration issues drew the ire of some progressives, and Cuomo already faces a possible primary challenge from the left-leaning Working Families Party.

Others have rallied to Hochul's defense. On a Democratic slate that is all white and mostly maLe, Hochul stands out.

"It's not productive for us in the Democratic tradition to have a fight about this. That's why I discourage him. I know him. I respect him, but now is not the time for a symbolic fight," said Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, D-Yonkers.

Samuels ran for lieutenant governor four years ago, but dropped out when Cuomo promised to help campaign for a Democratic state Senate. Samuels claims Cuomo broke that promise.

Though he is angry with Cuomo, Samuels said he is prepared to work with the governor if he wins.

"I would have to be a lot more diplomatic than today. Where he was wrong, I would speak out where he was wrong, but it's better to play a role behind the scenes. I'd be respectful, and that's just something you have to handle as person to person," Samuels said.

Samuels' father, Howard, ran for governor in 1974 with Cuomo's father, Mario, as his running mate but lost in a primary.

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